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Foreign tourists to get easy permits for restricted and protected area in three North East states

Arunachal Pradesh

Earlier, RAP/PAP was very difficult to get for foreigners visiting Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland in North East but curbs have been eased for tourists

The Restricted Area Permits (RAP) and Protected Area Permits (PAP), needed by foreigners for travel to three border states of North East, have been eased considerably with very few rejections, Union Ministry of Tourism’s Regional Director in North East Anil Oraw said on Sunday.

Earlier, RAP or PAP was very difficult to get but the Government of India, which is promoting the North East as a tourism destination, has eased these restrictions, Oraw told PTI.

The foreigners need RAP or PAP to visit certain parts of the North East, particularly the border states like Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.

“Now any foreign traveller can visit these states through organised tours which have to be handled by a local tour operator based in that particular state,” he said.

The local tour operators will have to do all the facilitation and there is very little rejection of foreign tourists in these states but they have to apply a bit early, Oraw said.

The Indian government is also planning to open border area tourism in the next few years as there are hardly any activities or industries in these areas.

“In a bid to provide more opportunities to people of these areas, the Government of India is planning to open up the border areas with tourists likely to be allowed to go up to four kilometres near the China and Myanmar borders”, the regional director said.

The Army has also come on board in this regard, he added.

“The Government of India’s home, defence and tourism ministries are all on board together to open up border tourism so that the people residing in these areas get more employment,” he said.

In the meantime, many vibrant villages have been declared in terms of what is unique like the Kibithu village in Arunachal Pradesh where it is said that the sun rays fall first in the country, Oraw said.

He also pointed out there was immense prospect for collaboration between Vietnam and India in the tourism sector which currently has a very low inflow but a huge outflow of tourists from India to Vietnam.

Among the Southeast Asian countries, Malaysia has the highest inflow of tourists to India, followed by Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia and then Vietnam, he said.

“There is a need to bridge this gap and we are encouraging tour operators from Vietnam to come to India, particularly in the North East which has gained immense popularity for domestic tourists in the post-COVID period,” Oraw said.

People are looking forward to ‘green tourism’ and the North East has immense potential in this regard, he said.

In 2021, domestic tourism in North East had broken all records- with 1.3 crore people visiting from other parts of the country visiting because the region is open, and clean, people are friendly and hospitable, facilities including five-star and other hotels along with homestays are available and there is also abundance of natural beauty, Oraw added.

Source: PTI